Entries Tagged as 'Education'

Mobysaurus Thesaurus

mobysaurus.jpg if you write a lot of essays and your vocabulary skills (like myself) just isn’t up to par, then a desktop application such as Mobysaurus Thesaurus would definitely help you out.
These types of tools are not only great for writing, but it expands your vocabulary, and allows you to craft better writing. Seeing how this is free and donationware for Windows, there’s not really any reason that you shouldn’t get it. I would probably also recommend this those that are in school since there is a lot more opportunity to increase your writing skills.

Earth’s Core

earthscore.jpg When you’re looking for an informational application where you can look up hundreds of minerals and rocks and entirely searchable? Earth’s Core is exactly what you’re looking for.
This application is a glossary of the geology and has a lot of pictures and detailed information. Very useful in an educational institution type environment. It even has cool things like biographies of scientists and explorers that are within the field.

Illegal immigrants getting in-state tuiton? WHA???

I first heard about this little tidbit of news from a buddy of mine.
First reaction was: “WHAAA??”
And I still stand by that reaction. Here’s the thing. While it sounds like these administrators for both the community colleges and now the UNC system are trying to make it affordable for people to get an education… let’s face it. This is a money play, than a good will play.
With in-state tuition on the rise, I have no clue how you’re going to get illegal immigrants to prove their residency not to mention there are a number of things such as SAT scores, and transcripts. It’s easy enough to obtain forged documentation to get work here, so what’s to say that this wouldn’t just create a black market for these types of documents? And how do you know that people would be taking advantage of this opportunity?
Personally, I think it’s a shoddy deal. Let’s face it. Those of us that are residents, don’t even take advantage of the in-state tuition enough. What’s to say that illegals would? They came here for jobs, and maybe a better life, but they probably didn’t come for an education. On top of that, just try pulling financial aid. How do you think these illegals will be paying for this education?
This opens a whole new can of worms and one that I just can’t see people standing by and watching from the sidelines. As a child of immigrants that came legally, I have to say that it seems like it demeans the whole legal process of coming into the country if you provide rights to illegals that are similar to those that are here legally.
Not sure what people will do about this, but I can tell you that it sure sounds like a crock if I’ve ever heard of one.

Texas school district tries to sue blogger parent

This just screams of people that listened to their attorneys and those that didn’t do their own homework. Currently, the allegations are that the parent committed libel on her blog citing sixteen different counts, where half of them are done by anonymous commenters.
Not including the obvious that governments can’t sue for libel which already has precedence set, there was one very obvious case in Dimeo vs Max (2006). In this case, there was a portion where anonymous commenters wrote some nasty things about Dimeo’s PR firm. But here lies the crux of it:

Dalzell concluded that the immunity applied to bar DiMeo’s libel claims because “Max did not create the anonymous posts. The posters authored them entirely on their own.”

Under the Communications Decency Act, Section 230 protects Internet providers (including bloggers) from libel. There is no action taken that wouldn’t stifle free speech. What’s also interesting is this part of it where Judge Dalzell cited ACLU vs. Reno (1996):

“Some of the dialogue on the Internet surely tests the limits of conventional discourse. Speech on the Internet can be unfiltered, unpolished, and unconventional, even emotionally charged, sexually explicit, and vulgar — in a word, ‘indecent’ in many communities. But we should expect such speech to occur in a medium in which citizens from all walks of life have a voice,” Dalzell wrote.

All of this doesn’t say that the parent did not commit libel, but from a case scenario, there is strong legal backing in an arena where other bloggers have fought and won. Setting precedence is key in the world of law, and the Texas school district (which is funding the suit with district funds) will have a tremendous PR issue chasing after this based purely on the fact that other parents might find it discouraging that district funding is being used in a lawsuit instead of promotion of education.

Education in the US should only be taught in English

Yes. It’s strange coming from the children of immigrants. Well, you might see it as that way.
But I don’t believe that public education in the US should be taught in any language but English. Here’s my beef with the latest trend to teach immigrants in Spanish or whatever other language. ESL was there way before myself, and is probably still around. I never saw many ESL students growing up actually bother to learn English well and I grew up in a community where Asians were pretty much a dominant minority.
But when my parents came to the United States, no one gave them an easier time about learning English. In fact, it’s true with most Asians, we taught ourselves and eventually made it out just fine. Without signs at Lowe’s or Home Depot in Chinese. Was I stricken from a better education in the public school system? Not a chance.
English being my first language, but Mandarin is a close second, and I speak both fluently. What was interesting is that I even spoke in English every day at school, but only spoke Mandarin at home. So why do we waste tax dollars teaching full classes in other languages when that money can be spent on bettering schools themselves? I speak both tongues fluently and most children would not have an issue adjusting. It would be better spent money paying teachers better wages than to dream up programs that seem to me as cop out type programs because the school administrators don’t know what to do with ESL students.
The basic thought here? I know this is the land of opportunity. More so than anyone given the fact that the color of my skin is evidence in itself. But no one handed it to Asians on a silver platter. We made out fine. You work hard to gain things in this world, that’s what the American dream is about. Not providing the easy way out.

Refusal to integrate linux costs educators money

linux.png Back in the day, I wrote about the refusal to use open source software implementation in Guilford County Schools. You truly wonder why people that supposedly complain about being understaffed and overworked can justify some of their actions.
Here’s the thing. Kamloops District currently boasts the largest linux implementation in western Canada in a school system. The lead administrator has been gradually pushing for open source since the late 1990s and has implemented LTSP in the district and is currently getting their secondary schools on board.

However, perhaps the greatest benefit of switching to free software is that the reliability of the new system frees up technical staff to do more than routine support. Where the district once paid 10 technicians to keep the district’s computers running, many of those can now be freed for other duties. Since implementing the second-generation system at Barriere Secondary, the district has been able to create a new help desk position to work directly with teachers so that they can make better use of applications. Recently, too, the district has improved the new position of technology coordinator to offer teachers hardware support.

What’s interesting is that while it’s difficult to quantify the savings even though there is more to retraining and education of the new systems but less on licensing fees and and productivity software. But the fact that the savings of time quoted in the article should be enough on an overall scale to justify a move as such. Less maintenance work and more time to help educators use the tools out there.
Sounds to me like time and money well spent and saved. Unfortunately, the situation closer to home, doesn’t seem as nice. We continue to waste money that could be spent on educator salaries or better quality of schooling. The fact is that migration of many technologies does not require anything seen on the foreground. Maybe someone somewhere will one day actually question this behavior. Until then, we just continue to pay more for our children’s technology education while others around the globe begin to become more and more curious about the ways of open source and linux.

UMass boos Andrew Card’s honorary degree

Andrew Card, former chief of staff for President George W. Bush, was booed and catcalled by hundreds during the graduate school commencement ceremony. Don’t remember who he was? He’s one of the first guys to spin the PR around the conflict for Iraq and why we should be going in. No amount of words can do the video justice, so just watch:

What can you say…. the students and faculty have made their voices heard. Obviously the university administration has ties with Andrew Card to not have held any regard into what they had to say, and with an overwhelming majority I might add given the amount of “no Card” cards in the video that were displayed. You can guarantee that there will be a rift created between the administration and the student body/faculty in the future. For Card, it was probably an embarrassing moment and not one where I personally would have wanted to show my face in and for the university administration, there might be hell to pay if their decision might effect future enrollment. Who knows. Regardless, the above video shows that there are those in academia that are definitely sick of the war in Iraq and anyone linked to the current administration.
Via RawStory

Newsweek posts top 1200 high schools

Newsweek has posted the results for the top 1200 high schools. What’s great is that this year, two of our local high schools has made it to the list: newcomer Western Guilford (80) and Grimsley (84).
One interesting thing to note though. Grimsley over the years has actually dropped in national ranking:

  • 2005 – rank 67
  • 2006 – rank 72
  • 2007 – rank 84
In the top 100, but still it’s a little bit disconcerting that the rank has been dropping over the last three years.

Teach blogging at UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill is opening a position for a professor to teach blogging. Yes, you got that right. Blogging. Talk about going a long way from the first Chapel Hill blogging conference to the introduction of a teaching position within the Journalism School itself. Great things are happening here with new media.
ScriptingNews < BlogTogether

How to turn your PC into an oscilloscope

If you have a parallel port and an ADC converter (analog to digital), then you can turn your PC into an oscilloscope. Sweet. Who needs one of those fancy schmancy Tektronix or Agilent oscilloscopes? Using ScopeOnPC, you can basically do the same stuff. And it’s free for Windows or DOS.
MAKE < ScopeOnPC